[NTG-context] new to ConTeXt

Thomas A. Schmitz thomas.schmitz at uni-bonn.de
Wed Nov 8 22:09:41 CET 2006

On Nov 8, 2006, at 8:35 PM, Pablo Rodríguez wrote:

> Many thanks, Thomas, for your reply.
> Maybe the issue here is that I want to learn how to do things in  
> ConTeXt
> that I was able to do with LaTeX. But this may be the wrong  
> approach to
> ConTeXt (because this might not be a good way to learn ConTeXt using
> LaTeX as the background example).

No, I think this approach is what many users do. As long as you don't  
insist that you want exactly the same syntax etc, as in LaTeX :-)

> I want ConTeXt to produce mainly articles and textbooks (after  
> learning
> that it will be easy to figure out presentations). I know some
> references, but I don't know which are the best ones.
> BTW, are “ConTeXt, an excursion” and “ConTeXt the manual” good
> introductions to start with ConTeXt or are they (too) outdated?

Most of the basic stuff is still correct, so they should be good  

>> But to give you a few pointers that may or may not be useful:
> Thanks, they are useful.
>> - The first stop would be the wiki http://wiki.contextgarden.net .
>> There is a section called "Sample documents" that may be a good
>> starting point.
>> - You could have a look at recent issues of the PracTeX journal;
>> there is some stuff about ConTeXt in there, and it should be good for
>> beginners.
>> - Of course, the Pragma website, but I guess you know that already.
>> - Finally, for ancient Greek, there is the ancientgreek module  
>> http://
>> modules.contextgarden.net/t-greek which I find superior to all Greek
>> typesetting in LaTeX (because I wrote the module).
> With this particular topic, I'm not sure whether I fully understand  
> what
> you mean. For me, input and output must be Unicode (it is the best way
> to avoid problems) and this can be done with XeTeX. I don't know how
> good the integration with ConTeXt is, but for me and before LuaTeX is
> released in an stable version, XeTeX is the only way of dealing with
> fonts in TeX. Is there something in your Greek module that cannot be
> done with XeTeX?

I must admit that I've been too lazy to really test XeTeX, so I may  
be wrong here. You can use Unicode input with the module; the only  
difference would be that you have to wrap all Greek passages in  
\localgreek{} commands or \start ... \stop pairs. I guess XeTeX  
provides proper hyphenation for Greek, but
- the module has support for more fonts than XeTeX;
- does XeTeX allow relative scaling of fonts?
Anyway, only Hans and Taco know to what extent I will have to rewrite  
everything when luatex and support for OpenType fonts are there.

>> Don't hesitate to ask here when you have specific questions, but
>> maybe that can get you started. I am a humanities guy and do all my
>> work in ConTeXt...
> Actually, I knew that you were the person I wanted to ask about this.
> Some time ago, I read somewhere (on the web) that you switched to
> ConTeXt, after having to edit a book with Word. And then I discovered
> that you teach Classics at Bonn.
> Then, if the question is not too personal (it hope not, but sorry  
> if it
> is): how did you learn ConTeXt? Only tinkering with already existing
> modules? Did you read any manuals? (Again, if this is not too  
> personal,
> I assume that our interests in ConTeXt are similar, although I'm not a
> classicist and I don't belong to the academia)
> Thanks for your help,
> Pablo

Yes, I started with already existing modules, and it took me a while  
(and lots of help here on the list) to write my own code. I never  
actually read any manual cover to cover, but the big manual is almost  
always open on my computer for reference. I just finished typesetting  
a book with ConTeXt, complete with dozens of cross-references,  
indexes, bibliography. Nothing very complicated, but it's wonderful  
to see that things work. There are still two or three problems, but  
they are fairly harmless. I love donig my own presentation styles  
with ConTeXt and metafun. The more I use ConTeXt, the more amazed I  

Hope this can inspire you a bit


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